Finling swam close to the surface, watching the human atop the horseback. He looked tired and grim, staring straight at the horizon. He’d seen this human before, riding down the hills with other humans trailing behind him. Today, he’d come alone to the Cerulean Bay.
“Hello” Finling greeted the man, startling him. The human alighted, coming closer to the water’s edge. He stared back in wonder, before looking around the deserted area. “A talking fish? Am I dreaming?” the young man muttered, bending to sit on his haunches.
“I’m Finling and I wanted to talk to you,” assured the fish, floating on the water’s surface. “You looked sad. Why?”
The human sighed, dipping his fingers into the cold water. “I’m the king of this land. I should be happy, but I’m not,” he confessed, surprising himself with this confession.
“I’ve heard of you, from the women fetching water near the valley and the farmers of the fields.” Finling replied, delighted. This king was an important man, as Finling had heard many humans speak of him during the fish’s river cruise.
“I’ve not had a restful sleep in some time. I’m plagued by dreams of my subjects being unhappy with my rule.” The king had tears in his eyes, as he explained his issues in detail to the ochre-red and grey fish. Finling swam around in lazy circles, patiently listening. The monarch just wished to be loved by all his people.
“I’m a fish, not a court advisor. But I know something that can help you,” he offered the anxious king. At his nod, Finling continued, “Your people- the farmers, fishermen, dockworkers and many others seem angry and disheartened over being denied work and benefits due to their colour. I was surprised initially, when I heard them complain to each other, as I thought that humans loved colour.” The human frowned, pacing before his aquatic companion.
“Among fishes, colourful scales and fins are admired. You, humans collect pretty fishes for your huts. And,” -Finling eyed the king’s regalia- “you wear bright clothes too. Then why judge them for their colour of scales?”
The young monarch thought about the encounter for the entire ride back to his palace. Such a small creature, but his words rang true and powerful. The superiority of the light skinned people over the darker toned ones had been intrinsic to this land and its culture since their kingdom had been established.
Entering the castle, he made his way towards the Council Chambers and demanded the immediate presence of its members along with all his advisors. This unusual step by the usually genteel and lackadaisical ruler left everyone in a flounder. A bunch of pompous, arrogant, indifferent and selfish men filled the hall.
Succinctly, a far cry from his soft verbose, the king proclaimed, “I hereby abolish the Hierarchy Laws of this land. From this day forth, all the subjects of this kingdom shall be treated equally in all matters, regardless of their physical attributes.”
Then, without any explanation, the monarch marched away.
© 2020, Cozy Quiet Corner.